Volvo Cars began the countdown to the start of the Volvo Ocean Race in The Netherlands yesterday by launching a series of specially designed cars at the Amsterdam Boat Show. The new Volvo Ocean Race Edition includes three models, the Volvo V70, Volvo XC70 and Volvo XC90 in exterior colours of either ocean blue or electric silver.
Lennart Stegland, president of the special vehicles division at Volvo Cars said that the Volvo Ocean Race reflects the values that Volvo’s customers look for when they choose a car. 'It’s all about an active lifestyle, adventure and passion. The cars in the Volvo Ocean Race Edition radiate all this. We are convinced that the marine design connection will make them very attractive,' he said.
This time the cars have an even stronger link to sailing. More interior details echo the materials used in masts and rigging and the stitching on the upholstery traces its roots to sail making. Even the design of the wheels has been inspired by the movement of the ocean’s waves.
When Volvo first organised the Volvo Ocean Race in 2001-02, 4,500 special edition cars were sold. For the 2005-06 race, sales increased to 8,600 cars and now the company expects to sell around 9,000 in celebration of the 2008-09 race. The cars will reach dealers in June 2008 and the five largest markets are Germany, Sweden, Finland, Great Britain and Japan.
Speaking publicly for the first time from the Volvo stand at the Amsterdam Boat Show, Volvo Ocean Race’s new CEO, Knut Frostad, talked about his plans for the Volvo Ocean Race.
Frostad, who officially took up his post as CEO on 2 March, said that it is going to be an extremely hard race for the crews. Having sailed in this event four times himself, he underlined that the sailors are the most important element.
'They are the actors in this movie, I am just the director,' he said. 'There is only space for a few personalities in this event and I want to concentrate on building the profiles of the people who actually race these boats around the globe.
'For us, as organisers, it will be a major challenge and I am looking forward to being involved in the organisation of the event. I loved sailing the Volvo Open 70 though at times I was pretty scared. It was an amazing experience, you feel like you are bubbling over.'
After inspecting the new limited edition cars, Frostad was joined by Gerd Jan Poortman, who sailed on ABN AMRO TWO in the 2005-06 race. They both took a ride in the brand new Volvo Ocean Race simulator which was on display for the first time. 'I have always enjoyed the business side of running a syndicate, but I’m not going to miss climbing into my bunk and hearing the screams of joy or fear on deck,' Frostad said as he left the simulator.
The 2008-09 event will be the 10th running of this ocean marathon. Starting from Alicante in Spain on 4 October 2008, it will for the first time, take in ports in Asia. Spanning some 37,000 nautical miles, stopping at around 11 ports and taking nine months to complete, the Volvo Ocean Race is the world’s premier yacht race for professional racing crews.